Bobby Van’s overall score: 84
A trip to Bobby Van’s was a long time in the making. It has been on my never-ending short list for quite some time. I went with my family in a group of six to the Bridgehampton location on a Saturday. Check it out assholes:
I had the porterhouse since they didn’t have a ribeye on the menu (WTF???!?). It was good! The waiter suggested that the two of us ordering it go with a porterhouse for two rather than two single steaks because the cut would be thicker. It was nicely cooked, even throughout, a good char on the outside with a nice buttery flavor. They probably could have seasoned it a bit more, but otherwise it was a good meal. One negative is in the preparation. Like many steakhouses serving the porterhouse, they pre-slice the meat and serve it on a hot plate. It’s nice for sharing that way, but there was a pool of oil, butter and juices at the bottom of the plate. When you cut meat while still hot, you can dry it out. At the same time, after you cut it, the meat sits in a pool of liquids and makes the bottom of the steak sog the fuck up, which just got a nice char in the broiler or on the grill. So while the meat becomes dry in the central parts, it also gets soggy and ruins the char on one side. I’ve griped about the way porterhouses are ruined many times. Next time that there isn’t a ribeye on the menu, I might just have to stick with a strip or filet on their own, since porterhouses are inevitably destroyed on a regular basis at steakhouses. The server here at least had the sense to tip the plate up so that the juices didn’t soak the char and make the bottom of the steak soggy. Side note – it is sort of a world of difference to go from ribeye to porterhouse, in terms of flavor. The ribeye just packs so much more of a punch. It’s a shame they don’t offer one regularly. I know they have them on special on occasion though (lollipop steak). I also had a taste of the lamb, which was very nice as well.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 7
One thing I noticed right away when checking the menu online was that they didn’t offer a ribeye (as I annoyingly mentioned several times above). That means instant points come off. Three to be exact. Not only is it my personal favorite cut, but it is THE steak. Keen’s commits this treachery too, but they make up one point with all the other kinds of meats they have (the amazing mutton). Aside from that issue, Bobby Van’s is good. They have all three of the other mainstay cuts (filet, porterhouse, and strip), and everything is top quality.
Portion Size & Plating: 8
Sizes here are pretty good. The lamb chops were a healthy size, and the porterhouse was about 40oz for two people. At $45 per cut, this isn’t too bad at all. My brother had a filet, and it looked around 12 or 14oz, which is on the upper end of the range. The apps and sides were all generous, as well as the desserts. The baked potato, for example, can feed a small village… for a week.
The price is about right for Long Island steakhouses. All the cuts are $45. All the sides are $9. The bill for six people came to $565. With tips included it was about $110 a head. Not too bad, especially when you take into account that the portion sizes were all large.
The bar is nice and big, and attracts a good crowd. The restaurant is located on a nice little strip of town, and it just so happened that we were there for the Kentucky Derby, so the place was packed out with people wearing fancy hats and cheering for the horses (I’ll Have Another – the one who flaked out of Belmont soon afterwards when it was in line for the Triple Crown). My sister said the place is packed all the time. I can see why – it seems like a fun place to hang.
Specials and Other Meats: 9
Bobby Van’s had a ton of stuff on special. I would have loved to see some more beef items on special, like a flank or a skirt (… or a FUCKING RIBEYE!), so I took one point for that. By way of other meats, they have lamb, veal and chicken. A good array of butchery. On special was a pork chop as well, along with several salad, app and fish options. My sister had a duck confit pasta dish, which was awesome. This is a regular menu item, but it is so good and full of meat that I put it here.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 8
I had smoked salmon for my appetizer. It was a big portion, and it came with several slices of goat cheese and caramelized onions. My wife had the pear and arugula salad, which was on special. The walnuts in the salad were amazing. Honey roasted, crunchy, and delicious. One noteworthy item was my sisters calamari app – I assumed it was a fried item when I saw it on the chalkboard, but it was grilled perfectly, sliced up, and served in a nice Asian slaw. For sides we had a baked potato (freaking HUGE – almost as big as our porterhouse), french fries (skinny, nicely seasoned), and creamed spinach (not overly dairy, seasoned to a nice savory goodness, and just the right amount of liquidity for slathering on a bite of steak). For dessert I tried a bite of my sister in-law’s chocolate cake, and lots of my wife’s delicious mango sorbet.
Seafood Selection: 10
There is a healthy amount of seafood on the menu. Appetizers consist of clams and oysters (both cooked and uncooked), mussels, crab cake, lobster, shrimp, fish tacos, and smoked salmon. For entrees they have a rare tuna dish, hamachi, grilled salmon, black sea bass, and a whole pan seared fluke. Note that seafood entrees, at a steakhouse, are for pussies and women. Perhaps they chose to put fluke on the menu instead of a ribeye because they want to attract wimps to the restaurant instead of real men. In any event, they all looked and sounded delicious. My wife has some dietary restrictions, so she went with the hamachi instead of meat. I tried a few bites and it was delicious. Crispy seared edges, a little rare on the inside – perfect. It is such a nice fish. On special they had soft shell crabs and wreck fish as well.
The waiter was a little difficult to understand, but that might have been due in part to having a seat closer to the end of the bar. There was nothing wrong with the service at all – it was average. On the plus column he did suggest we do a steak for two rather than two steaks for one, so that we got a thicker cut of beef. On the table there was warm bread and semi-soft butter waiting for our ravenous appetites to devour before the meal, with a little plate of olive oil to go with.
When we first were seated, the temperature seemed a little aggressive and hot. As the meal went on it cooled down, which was good. The wicker/bamboo seats were a little narrow and uncomfortable for my fat ass, but the decor was classy and worthy of fine steakhouses. Dark wood floors, dark wood-paneled bar area, nice paintings of east end stuff and horses, etc.
2393 Montauk Hwy.
Bridgehampton, NY 11932